The Wire

  • Cagle named president of Alabama Coal Association

    Patrick Cagle has been named the new president of the Alabama Coal Association, succeeding George Barber, who has elected to retire after seven years of service to the coal group which was first formed in 1972.

    Cagle, who has worked with the association on legislative matters in the past, has more than 10 years of experience in navigating Alabama’s political landscape. As executive director of JobKeeper Alliance, a 501c(4) nonprofit whose mission is to protect and create quality jobs, he previously worked hand-in-hand with the coal industry to oppose onerous, job-killing regulations.

    Cagle and his wife, Molly, have a 15-month-old son, Bankston. They are active members at Church of the Highlands. Cagle is an avid outdoorsman and a member of the Conservation Advisory Board, which assists the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources with the formation of hunting and fishing regulations.

  • Don’t call $1K in tax cut savings ‘crumbs’ — U.S. Rep. Gary Palmer

    U.S. Rep. Gary Palmer (R-Hoover) delivered a speech on the House floor today about how tax reform has impacted Alabama’s Sixth Congressional District.

  • Fatal deer disease would impact more than hunters in Alabama — Montgomery Advertiser

    Chronic Wasting Disease is a neurological disease affecting deer; mule and whitetail deer, elk and moose, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. It is fatal to animals that contact the disease, there is no vaccine, the CDC says.

    And it’s getting closer to Alabama.

    “The economic impact, of course, is huge,” Sykes said. “Hunting is a major part of the economy in rural areas of Alabama. And hunting is a huge part of the culture in Alabama. It is a part of the fabric of so many people’s lives.”

    Land values will likely be the first indicator of bad news if CWD comes to the state, said Jeff Roberts, a real estate agent who sells hunting land in the Black Belt.

    “For farmers and landowners, leasing the hunting rights to their places is a huge secondary income for many,” he said. “If CWD comes to Alabama, the land values are going to go into the basement. I’ve had clients turn their backs on absolutely beautiful hunting tracts when they found out feral hogs were on the property. You can imagine what CWD would do to spook buyers.”

1 week ago

Alabama one step closer to limiting civil forfeiture, but it may not matter

The Alabama Senate moved one step closer to requiring police officers to get a criminal conviction before taking a citizen’s property, but states that have already implemented such limits have run into loophole: the federal government.

Alabama lawmakers passed their ban through a state Senate committee last week under the impression they had the authority to ban civil forfeiture in their state. New Hampshire passed a bill similar to Alabama’s in 2016, but state and local police are still managing to take property without a criminal conviction.

The federal equitable sharing program, which allows state and local police to partner with federal authorities when making forfeitures, effectively ignores state-level limitations.

“The government ought to be required to prove that criminal conviction before being able to seize stuff,” Republican state Sen. Arthur Orr told the Heartland Institute. “The idea that the government can take a citizen’s property without a criminal conviction does not sit well with most people that I discussed this issue with.”


In New Hampshire, state and local police forfeit property under the authority of the federal government, rather than the state. Despite the federal government technically being the one to take the property, the proceeds of the forfeiture cases remain with local authorities.

The federal stance on civil forfeiture is unlikely to change under President Donald Trump’s administration as Attorney General Jeff Sessions has long argued the practice is essential to combating the drug trade. Most often, officers will find large amounts of cash in cars traveling across state lines and seize it under the assumption that it was ill-gotten.

The program allows police to make the seizure without charging the owner with a crime. To avoid due process concerns, authorities instead charge the property with a crime, allowing them to assume its guilt in court and put the burden of proof on the owner to show that his property was not involved in criminal activity.

Police also argue they use the power responsibly, but law enforcement often directly benefit from the funds they forfeit. Federal authorities took more than $4 billion through forfeiture in 2015, and most states allow departments to keep the vast majority – if not all – of the proceeds from the forfeitures they make. In Alabama, police departments receive 100 percent of the funds they forfeit.

North Dakota and Massachusetts are tied for the worst states in the U.S. on civil forfeiture, according to a study from the Institute for Justice. Both received an “F” from the group on the issue, but the rest of the country isn’t much better: 21 states are tied at a “D-,” including Alabama.

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2 weeks ago

Pat Buchanan: Why is the GOP terrified of tariffs?

From Lincoln to William McKinley to Theodore Roosevelt, and from Warren Harding through Calvin Coolidge, the Republican Party erected the most awesome manufacturing machine the world had ever seen.

And, as the party of high tariffs through those seven decades, the GOP was rewarded by becoming America’s Party.

Thirteen Republican presidents served from 1860 to 1930, and only two Democrats. And Grover Cleveland and Woodrow Wilson were elected only because the Republicans had split.

Why, then, this terror of tariffs that grips the GOP?

Consider. On hearing that President Trump might impose tariffs on aluminum and steel, Sen. Lindsey Graham was beside himself: “Please reconsider,” he implored the president, “you’re making a huge mistake.”

Twenty-four hours earlier, Graham had confidently assured us that war with a nuclear-armed North Korea is “worth it.”

“All the damage that would come from a war would be worth it in terms of long-term stability and national security,” said Graham.

A steel tariff terrifies Graham. A new Korean war does not?

“Trade wars are not won, only lost,” warns Sen. Jeff Flake.

But this is ahistorical nonsense.

The U.S. relied on tariffs to convert from an agricultural economy in 1800 to the mightiest manufacturing power on earth by 1900.

Bismarck’s Germany, born in 1871, followed the U.S. example, and swept past free trade Britain before World War I.

Does Senator Flake think Japan rose to post-war preeminence through free trade, as Tokyo kept U.S. products out, while dumping cars, radios, TVs and motorcycles here to kill the industries of the nation that was defending them. Both Nixon and Reagan had to devalue the dollar to counter the predatory trade policies of Japan.

Since Bush I, we have run $12 trillion in trade deficits, and, in the first decade in this century, we lost 55,000 factories and 6,000,000 manufacturing jobs.

Does Flake see no correlation between America’s decline, China’s rise, and the $4 trillion in trade surpluses Beijing has run up at the expense of his own country?

The hysteria that greeted Trump’s idea of a 25 percent tariff on steel and 10 percent tariff on aluminum suggest that restoring this nation’s economic independence is going to be a rocky road.

In 2017, the U.S. ran a trade deficit in goods of almost $800 billion, $375 billion of that with China, a trade surplus that easily covered Xi Jinping’s entire defense budget.

If we are to turn our $800 billion trade deficit in goods into an $800 billion surplus, and stop the looting of America’s industrial base and the gutting of our cities and towns, sacrifices will have to be made.

But if we are not up to it, we will lose our independence, as the countries of the EU have lost theirs.

Specifically, we need to shift taxes off goods produced in the USA, and impose taxes on goods imported into the USA.

As we import nearly $2.5 trillion in goods, a tariff on imported goods, rising gradually to 20 percent, would initially produce $500 billion in revenue.

All that tariff revenue could be used to eliminate and replace all taxes on production inside the USA.

As the price of foreign goods rose, U.S. products would replace foreign-made products. There’s nothing in the world that we cannot produce here. And if it can be made in America, it should be made in America.

Consider. Assume a Lexus cost $50,000 in the U.S., and a 20 percent tariff were imposed, raising the price to $60,000.

What would the Japanese producers of Lexus do?

They could accept the loss in sales in the world’s greatest market, the USA. They could cut their prices to hold their U.S. market share. Or they could shift production to the United States, building their cars here and keeping their market.

How have EU nations run up endless trade surpluses with America? By imposing a value-added tax, or VAT, on imports from the U.S., while rebating the VAT on exports to the USA. Works just like a tariff.

The principles behind a policy of economic nationalism, to turn our trade deficits, which subtract from GDP, into trade surpluses, which add to GDP, are these:

Production comes before consumption. Who consumes the apples is less important than who owns the orchard. We should depend more upon each other and less upon foreign lands.

We should tax foreign-made goods and use the revenue, dollar for dollar, to cut taxes on domestic production.

The idea is not to keep foreign goods out, but to induce foreign companies to move production here.

We have a strategic asset no one else can match. We control access to the largest richest market on earth, the USA.

And just as states charge higher tuition on out-of state students at their top universities, we should charge a price of admission for foreign producers to get into America’s markets.

And — someone get a hold of Sen. Graham — it’s called a tariff.

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of a new book, “Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever.”


2 weeks ago

Alabama House passes bill against cyberbullying after boy’s suicide

The House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill on Thursday to protect children from cyberbullying in honor of a 10-year-old boy who committed suicide last year.

Fifth grader Jamari Terrell Williams took his own life after he was bullied online last October. Rep. John Knight, a Democrat from Montgomery, sponsored the bill to add cyberbullying and harassment off school grounds to the current law protecting students from bullying at school.

Bipartisan House members expressed support for the bill because of similar situations of cyberbullying and student suicides in their own districts.

Williams’ mother Monique Davis was present in the statehouse for the bill’s passage. The bill had 88 co-sponsors in the 105-member House and now moves to the Senate.

(Image: Pixabay)

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

2 weeks ago

Alabama: 1 student dead, another hurt in school shooting

Courtlin Arrington

Authorities said they are investigating a fatal shooting at an Alabama high school as apparently accidental, lamenting the death of a 17-year-old female student in the incident that also left a 17-year-old boy injured.

Birmingham Interim Police Chief Orlando Wilson said investigators are seeking to piece together the exact circumstances surrounding Wednesday afternoon’s shooting at dismissal time at Huffman High School, one of the city’s largest. He added that the probe will involve scouring school surveillance video for clues and completing interviews among students and staff at the large magnet school.

“At this particular time, we are considering this accidental,” the police chief said at a news conference Wednesday afternoon just hours after the shooting. “Right now, we have a lot of unanswered questions.”

The shooting prompted a brief lockdown though students were subsequently released late Wednesday and authorities said they had subsequently determined that the shooting was not perpetrated by “someone from the outside” the school.

Wilson declined to say who fired the gun or to identify what firearm, adding it had been recovered by authorities.

No arrests were immediately reported, and the two students weren’t identified.

“We are asking questions from the staff, the students, anyone who was in that area,” Wilson said. “This should not happen in schools.”

He said police have already questioned students but declined to say how many. Wilson did confirm metal detectors were in place and functioning in the school.

Huffman High in northeast Birmingham is one of the largest high schools in the city. The Birmingham City School system said in a statement that the shooting prompted a brief lockdown and added two students were involved as school was letting out. It later said the schools would be open Thursday even as civic leaders and others were mourning the loss of life.

Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin said the deceased student would have turned 18 in about 30 days and was a senior “who had aspirations and dreams to be a nurse.”

“We are not just talking about some person, (we’re) talking about losing a part of our future. Our hearts are heavy,” Woodfin said.

Birmingham City Schools Superintendent Lisa Herring said her goal was to support the family of the teen who died and to reassure parents about the safety of their children.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey released a statement Wednesday evening that she was saddened by the student’s death.

“I am praying for the family of this young lady who has tragically lost her life way too early … it reaffirms that there is no place for students to have firearms or other weapons on campus.”

The shooting took place just a day after Ivey created a school safety council in Alabama to make recommendations on security. The security plan would ensure schools have an updated security response plan for sharing information about potential threats. It also would require schools to train students and school employees on how to respond to an emergency situation.

Multiple bills also have been proposed in the Alabama legislature after 17 people were killed last month in a shooting rampage at a Parkland, Florida, high school. Varying proposals by Republicans would arm either teachers or volunteer security forces in schools. Meanwhile, measures sought by Democrats would seek to limit or ban the sale of assault weapons. The proposals face a tight deadline before the end of Alabama’s legislative session this election year.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)


Congresswoman Terri Sewell is a 2018 Yellowhammer Woman of Impact

If you only read U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell’s resume, it might be tempting to assume she grew up with connections and privilege.

She went to Princeton University for her undergraduate degree.

She went to Oxford University for her master’s degree.

She went to Harvard Law School for her doctorate in law and began her legal career at a Wall Street firm.

But the lifelong Democrat who represents Alabama’s 7th Congressional District, and who will be honored this month as a Yellowhammer Woman of Impact, said in an interview with Roll Call that she considers herself a “little girl from Selma” whose remarkable path began when she got to go to Princeton.

“That was the ticket that sent me on my way,” Sewell said.

She also grew up in a strong family that emphasized academics, said Sewell spokesman Chris MacKenzie in an interview with Yellowhammer News.

“Her parents were very inspirational figures in her life,” MacKenzie said, adding that Sewell’s father was “a very driven person” and coach of the Selma High School basketball team. Her mother was a librarian.

“Together, they gave me a hunger for learning,” Sewell recently wrote of her parents in an op-ed for the Huffington Post.  “I remember spending countless hours in the library reading through books that brought to life all of the places I wanted to travel someday.”

Sewell became the first black valedictorian of her high school in 1982. A Perkins student loan then helped her get to Princeton because her family did not have the resources to send her to college on their own, she wrote.

At Princeton, Sewell was matched up with a student mentor named Michelle Robinson, she told Roll Call. The two became friends and Sewell said it was like “two worlds colliding” when her “Big Sis” went on to marry another of Sewell’s future friends she’d meet at Harvard:  Barack Obama.

After school, Sewell worked as a lawyer in New York for a decade until her dad had a series of strokes that left him disabled. She came back to Alabama to support him and began working as a public finance lawyer, helping secure funding for local construction of major properties such as the Children’s Hospital in Birmingham and the new stadium at Alabama State University.

She also became the first black female partner in the Birmingham law office Maynard, Cooper & Gale, P.C.

“That was part of her beginning to work more with members of the local community and helping to develop Alabama’s 7th district,” MacKenzie said.

Fast forward: Rep. Sewell is now in her fourth term and not only is she one of the first women from Alabama to serve in Congress — she is the first black woman elected to the state’s Congressional delegation.

In addition to serving on key committees such as the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, Sewell’s office said the following are just a few of her most notable accomplishments:

  • Sewell’s first piece of successful legislation recognized with Congressional Gold Medals the four little girls who died in the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in 1963.
  • She advocated for the Air Force to successfully bring the F-35A basing location to the 187th Air National Guard Fighter Wing unit in Montgomery.
  • Sewell fought to keep rural Alabama hospitals open, including John Paul Jones Hospital in Camden, by working with rural hospitals, local public officials, stakeholders and constituents.
  • She successfully helped Selma’s historic federal courthouse where Martin Luther King, Jr. was jailed, get off the list of endangered federal buildings and worked with the Southern District Court of Alabama to resume federal trials there.
  • She successfully introduced and passed bipartisan legislation to incorporate Birmingham’s civil rights sites into the National Park Service system.
  • Sewell each year hosts an annual job fair in her district that last year hosted more than 60 employers and 600 job seekers.
  • She designed a workforce development initiative called Project R.E.A.D.Y to promote employment through public/private partnerships, job readiness, skills training and career development.

The congresswoman and Governor Kay Ivey will be among 20 Alabama women honored in a March 29 awards event in Birmingham. Event details and registration may be found here.

Rachel Blackmon Bryars is managing editor of Yellowhammer News.

2 weeks ago

Hillery Head is an Alabama Woman of Impact

If selling construction tools is not the kind of thing you would expect female entrepreneurs to do, you don’t know the Head family of Birmingham.

Maryam “Mimi” Head bought the Ram Tool Construction Supply Co. in 1984 with no prior distribution experience and methodically built the small company into a major force in the Southeast, adding product lines and acquiring competitors, according to a history on the company’s website.

Daughter Hillery Head, one of the Yellowhammer 2018 Women of Impact, joined the firm in 1993 and became CEO in 2009 when her mother retired.

Under the younger Head’s leadership, Ram Tool’s growth has accelerated. It acquired Marco Supply in 2012, expanding into three cities in South Carolina, Charlotte, N.C., Washington, three Virginia cities and Charleston, West Virginia. Ram Tool also opened a new store in San Antonio.

Ram Tool has bought new companies or expanded into new locations every year since. Last year, it celebrated its 50th anniversary.

Today Ram Tool operates in 36 cities. According to the company website, on one project, it made 1,740 deliveries, with orders arriving every day for more than six months.

“So needless to say, going the extra mile is just the beginning for us,” the company says.

In 2016, Head told BHM BIZ that the toughest challenge she faced as CEO was working through the Great Recession, which crushed the construction industry.

“We were forced to tighten our belt quickly and dramatically,” she wrote.

Head, a Yale University graduate, told Business Alabama that her mother picked Ram Tool despite a lack of experience in the field because she wanted “a legitimate, real business” that offered growth opportunity. She said her mother taught her never to settle for easy answers.

“Another thing she taught us was to not have ‘analysis paralysis,’” she told the publication. “Better to go ahead and make a decision quickly and move on with that. If it’s the wrong decision, it’s easier to back up and to reverse than to just sit around and not do anything. So it’s important to make decisions quickly and then move to execute them quickly.”

Head also told the publication that her company’s sales team tries to stay a cut above the competition by saying “yes” to customers even when they want tools not in stock. She recounted one time when the firm found an aerial drone for a client in Dallas.

“We always try to say, ‘Yes, we can’ and to do it quickly,” she told Business Alabama. “A lot of times the customer just needs to know that we’re working on it and that we’re on it.”

Brendan Kirby is senior political reporter at and a Yellowhammer contributor. He also is the author of “Wicked Mobile.” Follow him on Twitter.


Teledyne’s Jan Hess is a 2018 Yellowhammer Woman of Impact

Jan Hess is a 2018 Yellowhammer Woman of Impact who is making history in a company known for making history.

In 2000, the Huntsville-native became the first female executive of Teledyne Brown Engineering, the first high-tech company established in Huntsville to help Wernher von Braun build the Redstone Rocket, according to the company website.

Teledyne Brown will this year celebrate its 65th anniversary.

Hess steadily moved up in leadership and became the engineered systems and advanced manufacturing company’s first female president in 2014.

She is also president of the Engineered Systems segment of Teledyne Technologies Incorporated, which includes Teledyne Brown Engineering and three other Teledyne companies, and employs 1,200 people to serve the aerospace, defense, maritime and energy markets.

Hess is responsible for the “growth, profitability and long-range strategic positioning of her segment,” which has grown organically by double digits under her leadership both in revenue and profit in an industry where the average is low single digit.

“I find that she has integrity, which is important not only in business, but in relationships outside of business,” said friend and colleague, Dorothy Davidson who is CEO of Davidson Technologies in Huntsville.

Davidson told Yellowhammer News that Hess is a “good person for the community” and is well known not just in Alabama, but also nationally and internationally.

“I think that’s a tribute to her for several reasons,” Davidson said. “One is her being a woman in the position that she’s in and being able to carry that forth and to have people respect that. In this day and time, to be able to get the respect of other people, other nations, is a very important thing, especially when you can do it successfully and with the integrity that is required.”

Hess said she believes there are three key elements to success: hard work, persistence and a positive attitude, which she says she learned as one of eight siblings whose father passed away when she was 10 years old.

She and her siblings “worked as a team” to help her mother keep the family afloat.

“As we went off to college, those at home sent whatever money possible to help those in college,” said Hess, adding that she began working at the age of 12. “As we graduated, we helped those still in college and at home.”

Hess graduated from Auburn University with a degree in accounting and holds a certificate in management from the University of Virginia’s Darden Graduate School of Business Administration, as well as a professional designation in Advanced Government Contracting. She is an active business leader and volunteer who advocates for children with learning challenges and sits on multiple Huntsville boards and councils. She is a certified public accountant in Alabama (inactive) and frequent public speaker who has won multiple honors and awards, including being named a “Woman of Distinction” by the Girl Scouts of the USA.

“I have been fortunate to have many mentors in my career,” Hess said. “Mentoring need not be a formal process. Mentoring opportunities are everywhere – airplanes, events and most recently while walking in D.C. to a conference. It is an honor and very rewarding to be able to ‘pay it forward’ and watch others grow.”

Hess is married to Grantt Childress, whom Hess calls her “greatest cheerleader.” The two have an adult son.

Hess will be honored with Governor Kay Ivey in a March 29 awards event in Birmingham that will recognize 20 Yellowhammer Women of Impact whose powerful contributions advance Alabama.

Details and registration may be found here.

(Image: Teledyne Brown Engineering/Johnny Miller)

Rachel Blackmon Bryars is managing editor of Yellowhammer News.

3 weeks ago

Dr. Nancy Dunlap is a 2018 Yellowhammer Woman of Impact

Dr. Nancy Dunlap may not be a household name, but her impact in the field of medicine has extended far beyond Alabama’s borders.

Dunlap, an emeritus professor of pulmonary and critical care medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, is among the women to be honored this month at the Yellowhammer Women of Impact event.

Dunlap was special adviser to the Alabama Medicaid Advisory Commission and served on the National Health Policy Conference Advisory Board. Also a member of America’s Top Doctors, she served under former Alabama Gov. Bob Riley as secretary of the Emergency Response Commission to Address the Health Care Crisis.

In 2013, the National Governors Association tapped her to serve as physician-in-residence at the organization’s Center for Best Practices Health Division, where she helped develop recommendations for states to contain health care costs, manage diseases and improve technology.

“Her expertise and long-standing dedication will be very beneficial to our work for the nation’s governors,” National Governors Association Executive Director Dan Crippen said in a statement announcing her appointment at the time.

Later in 2013, Dunlap left Alabama to take a job as interim dean of the University of Virginia School of Medicine while the school searched for a permanent replacement. She served in that capacity for 18 months and then returned home to Alabama.

It is not just in medicine where Dunlap has made her mark, however. She has served the broader community in a number of ways. Most recently, she participated on a search committee that selected Melanie R. Bridgeforth to take over as president and CEO at the Women’s Fund of Greater Birmingham.

Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin also tapped her after his election last year to co-chair an advisory committee on social justice issues to help the incoming administration set priorities for the first 100 days.

Dunlap in 2016 joined the board of Southern Research, a nonprofit that works on drug discovery and development, advanced engineering research, and energy and environmental research.

Dunlap participated in a Women in Pulmonary Symposium at UAB and talked about the need to nurture women in science fields.

“I do believe that there is a tendency in every professional field to believe that women, particularly when they have families, would have balance issues. As a result, women aren’t put in leadership positions and fall behind their male peers,” Dunlap said, according to a report on UAB’s website. “If you haven’t held those leadership positions at a certain point, you fall behind professionally and can’t catch up. That’s why it is very important to nominate young faculty members to professional organizations.”

Those young female faculty members looking for a role model could find few better than Dunlap.

Join Women of Impact honoree Gov. Kay Ivey and special guests from across the state for a Birmingham awards event March 29 honoring the 20 Yellowhammer Women of Impact whose powerful contributions advance Alabama. Details and registration may be found here.

Brendan Kirby is senior political reporter at and a Yellowhammer contributor. He also is the author of “Wicked Mobile.” Follow him on Twitter.


Gov. Kay Ivey is a 2018 Yellowhammer Woman of Impact

The most important duty of a lieutenant governor is to be ready to become governor.

Judging by the significant accomplishments in Kay Ivey’s nearly 11 months as Alabama’s 54th governor, she has proven herself ready by successfully steadying what she called “the ship of state” and then steering Alabama into strong economic waters.

Yellowhammer News is proud to announce that Gov. Ivey is a 2018 Woman of Impact because as Alabama’s second female governor, she is a trailblazer who restored our state government’s image when we needed strong, dignified, unifying leadership the most.

Gov. Ivey has presided over accomplishments that should make all Alabamians proud, including:

  • Record low unemployment (3.5 percent in December).
  • Record exports of Alabama goods and services in 2017.
  • More than $6 billion in new direct investments committed in the state that will create 13,000 jobs.
  • A conservative, fiscally responsible state budget.
  • Launch of the “Strong Start, Strong Finish” education initiative that prioritizes early childhood education, computer science in middle and high school, and workforce preparedness.
  • Attraction of major businesses to Alabama, including the coming Toyota-Mazda plant in Huntsville that will provide an estimated 4,000 jobs.

Ivey enjoys the 3rd highest approval rating of governors nationwide, according to a recent Morning Consult poll, and her political history includes several interesting firsts:

  • First female student government vice president at Auburn University.
  • First Alabama Girls State alumna elected to a statewide office.
  • First Republican to be elected state treasurer since Reconstruction.
  • First Republican woman to hold the office of lieutenant governor.
  • First Republican lieutenant governor re-elected to the office.
  • First Republican female governor.

Gov. Ivey grew up an only child in small-town Camden, Alabama, in Wilcox County and worked on the family farm where the Iveys raised horses, grew timber and farmed cattle. Her father served in World War II as an army major in the field artillery and her mother’s work included time as vice president at Camden Bank.

Gov. Ivey has worked as a high school teacher and a banker and has long advocated for women in government through her work with Alabama Girls State — beginning her own career in public service when then-Governor Fob James appointed her to the state cabinet in 1979.

War Eagle, Madam Governor, and thank you for rising to an unexpected challenge … and for knocking it out of the park.

Join Governor Ivey and special guests from across the state for a Birmingham awards event March 29 honoring the 20 Yellowhammer Women of Impact whose powerful contributions advance Alabama. Details and registration may be found here.

(Image: Governor’s Office, Hal Yeager)

Rachel Blackmon Bryars is managing editor of Yellowhammer News.

4 weeks ago

13 indictments, no collusion — Everyone missed shooter signs — Sheriffs under fire, and more in Dale Jackson’s 7 Things


The 7 Things You Should Be Talking About Today

1. Media is obsessing over Donald Trump’s response to the latest Mueller investigation news, not the news

— President Trump acknowledged that Russians meddled in the election but the media wants him to admit that there still might be collusion.

— The reality is that there has not been one piece of evidence or decision made by the special prosecutor that alleges any knowledge from anyone in Trump’s campaign or administration was involved.

2. Russian investigation has new developments, still no allegations of collusion

— 13 Russians were indicted for meddling in the election of 2016, starting in 2014, nor do they mention that most of the spending was done post-election.

— Rick Gates reportedly is close to a deal and testifying against Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort

3. Pretty much everyone missed the signs that the shooter in Parkland, Florida was a troubled soul

— The FBI missed warnings that Nikolas Cruz might attack, they failed to act on a call just weeks before Cruz attacked the school.

— The Florida Department of Children and Families investigated Cruz in 2016 after Snapchat posts showed him cutting his arms and saying he wanted to buy a gun. They still deemed him low risk.

4. Schools in a district in Texas and a district in Alabama allow their teachers to be armed; it’s been proposed in Alabama

— While Alabama considers a law to allow teachers to arm themselves, we often forget one school system (Franklin County) already does this.

— The Alabama law lets teachers and others to be trained as Reserve Deputy Sheriffs and carry firearms on school grounds.

5. More Alabama sheriffs are under fire over excess money from inmates’ food budget, it’s legal for now

— Alabama law allows sheriff’s to pocket money they do not spend feeding inmates. This obviously has led to some problems.

— One sheriff pocketed $110,000 dollars, another lent $150,000 to a now bankrupt used car dealership.

6. NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley puts his money where his mouth is to help black Alabamians

— Barkley told ESPN’s “First Take” that athletes should be giving back to their community.

— In late 2017, Barkley said he was pledging $1 million to minority startups because “black women really came out and supported Doug Jones” but he added, “That does not mean restaurants and hair salons, black women.”

7. “Black Panther” kills at the box office

— The latest Marvel film had the fifth-highest-grossing debut ever behind only “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” ”Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” ”Jurassic World” and “The Avengers.”

— The movie made $387 million worldwide.

2 months ago

Yellowhammer Radio: Hollywood Conservative Amanda Head lays into the government shutdown and the “dreamers” By The Ford Faction

Its Friday, so it’s time for a favorite segment on The Ford Faction and that is “The Final 30 with Amanda Head.”  She mentions her views on the comments made from President Trump about other countries.  She also sheds light on the DACA reception to the comments and Donald Trump’s physical that was made earlier last week.  “The Fake News Awards” were this week and Amanda Head had a lot to say about it and she weighs in on the media’s inaccuracy of covering real news.  Amanda even lets us know what she thought on the National Championship.

The Final 30 is brought to you by McCutcheon Engineering: Professional Engineering Consulting Services

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Click here to listen in a new window.

Subscribe to the Yellowhammer Radio Presents The Ford Faction podcast on iTunes or Stitcher.

2 months ago

Yellowhammer Radio: Ron Brown calls into The Ford Faction to discuss the recent news of the racist video posted by the UA student

The Ford Faction was fortunate enough to have Ron Brown call into the show and talk about his video that surfaced earlier this week about the UA sorority girl that went on a racist rant.  Ron addressed the situation by talking about his transition from Atlanta, a prominent black community, to Birmingham.  He mentions the transition being easier than ever and how he has never experienced racism in Alabama.  Ron even mentions his reflection on Alabama winning the National Championship.

Below is a preview of the interview. Click here to listen to the full audio.

Subscribe to the Yellowhammer Radio Presents The Ford Faction podcast on iTunes or Stitcher.

2 months ago

Yellowhammer Radio: 15 Year Old, Viral Facebook Star, CJ Pearson Joins The Ford Faction to discuss his viral video

CJ Pearson, of Augusta, GA, joined The Ford Faction to talk about his viral video he posted talking about President Trump’s devotion to African Americans.  He talks about the reception that came from the video both good and bad.  He mentions that the good has outweighed the bad on reception and mentions how sensitive this generation has become and how mad people get when someone of the opposite color of skin defends President Trump. CJ is in high school and has talked about how he’s handling the internet fame of his powerful video that sends a message.

Below is a preview of the interview. Click here to listen to the full audio.

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2 months ago

Yellowhammer Radio:’s Wes Thompson makes his weekly visit to The Ford Faction for Tech Tuesday

(Sponsored) Wes Thompson of comes on The Ford Faction to talk about the snow day, leaving his house for privacy, and facebook’s new algorithym.  Wes also covers the “App of The Day” being the Dosh, an app you can link to other businesses and save money by doing so!

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2 months ago

Alabama State House to hold “Military and Veterans’ Day” tomorrow


Alabama Speaker of the House Mac McCutcheon (R – Monrovia) announced that the House will hold a “Military and Veterans Day” in the chamber on Tuesday, January 16, with a work calendar that is stacked with bills designed to benefit those who have served or are currently serving in our nation’s armed forces.

Alabama’s living recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor, our nation’s highest award for heroism, will also be honored and in attendance.

“Alabamians are a proud and patriotic people, and our state’s military tradition runs deep in our history, so it is proper that we recognize those who served and fought for our country,” McCutcheon said.  “By passing this good, needed, and commonsense legislation and thanking the men and women who have worn uniforms in our nation’s defense, we can give something back to those who have give so much to us.”

Among the bills on the House agenda are:

— The Veterans Employment Act, which is sponsored by State Rep. Connie Rowe (R – Jasper) and provides incentives to businesses that hire honorably discharged veterans who are currently unemployed.  The bill would ensure that the veterans covered by this incentive program would be hired for full-time jobs and earn at least $14 per hour.  Because the program is modeled after the “pay as you go” method of awarding economic incentives, it would have no negative fiscal impact on the budgets.

— The Parks for Patriots Act of 2018, which is sponsored by State Rep. Dickie Drake (R – Leeds), would provide free, year-round admission to all Alabama state parks for all active military personnel and veterans, including members of the National Guard and Reserves.  Recently, the Department of Conservation commenced the Parks for Patriots initiative as an administrative pilot program at the suggestion of House Republicans, and this bill would permanently establish the program into state law.

In addition, the House will hold a ceremony honoring the three living Congressional Medal of Honor winners who currently reside in Alabama – Command Sgt. Maj. Bennie Adkins of Opelika, Gary Michael Rose of Huntsville, and James Michael Sprayberry of Titus – and at least two of the three have committed to attend the State House event.


2 months ago

Yellowhammer Radio: Amanda Head comes back on for the weekly edition of The Hollywood Conservative shooting fire

She brings the stupidity of the Hollywood elite in their personal hardships in the California mudslides. She discusses the golden hardships at the globes and the elite’s best shot for the next presidential election. The vast discrepancy between Oprah and Trump’s leadership styles brings the house down. We also pit Obama against Trump in a battle physical fitness.

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2 months ago

Yellowhammer Radio: Joel Blankenship makes his weekly visit on The Ford Faction


(Sponsored) Xtreme Concepts very own Joel Blankenship returns for his edition of The Man Hour and he brings the heat.  Blankenship and the guys touch on 30 songs that are turning 30 this year.  The guys discuss what were the best songs on the list and debate what was Michael Jackson’s best song.  Of course with every Joel Blankenship visit, the guys discuss the “Man Movie of The Week”, Slap Shot.  Ford gives his review and score of the movie and the next flick on the list is “Smokey and The Bandit.”  Joel even touches base on the Alabama Legislative Update and what he took away from it and what it will do for this state.

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2 months ago

Yellowhammer Radio: Matt Wilson of ‘Living Life on Purpose’ makes a visit to The Ford Faction to talk about his new podcast

The Ford Faction brought in Matt Wilson to talk about his new podcast “Living Life on Purpose” and what led to it.  Matt mentions he was inspired to make it after the “Yellowhammer Leadership Conference” to spread more of a positive light on the news.  Ronnie Rice calls in during the interview to talk about his relationship with Matt and the hard work and dedication that was put in to achieve success.  Matt also talks about his experience Monday night reacting to seeing his Georgia Bulldogs lose to The Alabama Crimson Tide in the National Championship.

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2 months ago

Yellowhammer Radio:’s Wes Thompson makes his weekly visit to The Ford Faction for Tech Tuesday

(Sponsored) Wes Thompson of comes on The Ford Faction to talk about his son’s injury, HQ Trivia, and Bitcoin.  Wes mentions the movement of self-driving cars and the pros and cons of it and the “App of The Day” being the IKEA app that works with “Augmented Reality.”

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2 months ago

Watch the ‘Rammer Jammer’ explode after last night’s Alabama victory over Georgia

Alabama fans cheering the ‘Rammer Jammer,” Jan. 8, 2018, Atlanta (University of Alabama/Twitter)


Ladies and gentlemen … the Rammer Jammer you’ve been waiting all season to hear:

Roll Tide, Alabama. Roll Tide. 

2 months ago

‘Roll Tide … now will you marry me?’ Alabama lineman wins championship, then wins the girl

Brad Bozeman (SEC Network/Twitter)

While his teammates were celebrating their historic come-from-behind victory over Georgia last night at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Alabama center Bradley Bozeman focused on more important things.

The 319-pound junior from Roanoke, Ala., dropped to one knee and asked his girlfriend to marry him.

Exit question: Would he have still asked if Alabama had lost … or better yet, would she have still said yes?

We kid, y’all.

Roll Tide!

2 months ago

Briefing tomorrow in Montgomery to discuss prison reform construction


A briefing to inform Alabama’s construction industry on the status of prison reform will be held tomorrow at 1 p.m. at the Alabama Department of Archives & History, 624 Washington Avenue in Montgomery.

“Over the last (legislative) session, many myths circulated,” organizers wrote in a flyer promoting the event. “This is a unique opportunity to hear from decision makers on what the next 12 months could hold for prison reform.”

Speakers include State Senator Cam Ward, R-Alabaster, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Jeff Dunn, commissioner of the Alabama Department of Corrections.

The event is sponsored by the Associated Builders and Contractors and the Business Council of Alabama.


2 months ago

Yellowhammer Radio: Joel Blankenship joins The Ford Faction for Man Hour


(Sponsored) Joel Blankenship from Xtreme Concepts makes his manly visit on today’s edition of The Ford Faction to talk about Trump criticism in ‘Fire and Fury’ by Micheal Wolff, the new man movie of the week, and Jeff Sessions.

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2 months ago

Yellowhammer Radio: Josh Taylor and his fiancé Holly France (soon to be Mrs. Taylor) have taken the internet by storm on this very unique way of proposing

On Saturday, it was not your typical proposal for Josh Taylor and his at the time girlfriend Holly France.  After posting a video of his proposal many other news outlets have obtained his special question and The Ford Faction were able to have him in studio to talk about it.  He mentions the planning ahead and how much of a relief it was to join. Holly even calls in to discuss the proposal and talks about the planning ahead.

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